Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
Considered a classic of kids’ lit, the story follows Harriet as she keeps a spy journal of her thoughts. She wants to be a writer one day and her nurse encourages her to practice. When her nurse leaves suddenly, Harriet is left without a safety net, and when her journal is read by her classmates, she is shunned. I’ve got to say, I really didn’t like this book. I felt it was mean spirited. Not just everybody who pointed fingers at Harriet, but Harriet herself. There is a whole lot of judging people, without trying to understand. While the perspective is spot on, giving a very realistic view of how kids treat each other, there was not one adult who stepped up. It likely is a reflection of the time, but I was still really frustrated that no one saw how much the nurse leaving undermined Harriet.
Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots
I loved this book. I listened to it and narrator had a terrific amount of snark that brought a lot to the story. Anna is a temp for villains. One day, at her villain boss’s event, she is gravely injured by the biggest hero of them all, Supercollider. Now out of work with a shattered leg, she puts together a spreadsheet showing how many civilian lives are ruined or ended because the support network for Supercollider doesn’t regard collateral damage. This brings her to the attention of Leviathan, an A-list villain and mortal enemy of Supercollider. Together, they work to bring down not just the heroes but the idea that there are heroes. I really liked this one. It has some dark moments, but lots of levity—even when Anna is doing some very questionable things. Definitely worth a read for fans of the superhero mythos.
The Barren Grounds, by David O. Robertson
A middle grade book written by an indigenous Canadian author. Morgan and Eli, indigenous kids, have ended up at the same foster home. They find a portal in the home’s attic, that takes them to a land where Cree folktales are real. The place has been cursed with winter for many years and the two kids help Ochek stop the curse and save his village from starvation. A lovely story. Morgan and Eli are very different kids with different life experiences which helps to make their characters more fleshed out as those differences play off each other. The world-building is great and I loved the mythology. Looking forward to more books in the series.
Windswept, by Gwen Cole
A potato chip read. A young adult novel about people who can teleport with a bit of romance thrown in. That summary is very basic, but it’s a very basic book. It was a short novel and it could have spent more time fleshing out the characters and world building. Main character, Sam, often tells us who she is, but she never shows us. There were several plot lines (or potential plot lines) that had no significance or just petered out. It was a perfectly fun read, but without a whole lot of substance.
Arabella, by Georgette Heyer
The first Georgette that I’ve listened to and it was a blast. I had only read Arabella once before and it wasn’t my favorite. I know it is usually a fan favorite and on second read I understand why. Arabella is the daughter of a minister and one of ten kids. She has the opportunity to be presented for a London season by her godmother. When her temper gets the better of her, she blurts out to some rich dudes that she is a great heiress. Then the rumor spreads that she is. Being a mostly honest girl, she can’t accept any marriage proposals knowing that everyone thinks she’s rich. Enter Beaumaris, stupidly rich and tired of women after his money. The usual Heyer hijinx follows. A fun read.
Or What You Will, by Jo Walton
Jo Walton writes the most interesting books. This book is a conversation between an author and her favorite character. It is written mostly from the character’s POV and tells the history between himself and author Sylvia. Now in Florence to finish her last book, and maybe to say goodbye to her favorite city, her character is worried that when she dies, he will too. Instead of accepting fate, he searches for a way for both of them to live on forever. It was hard to get into at first because the narration jumps right in acting as if you already know what’s going on, but once you catch on, the story is fascinating. Highly recommend.